Growing Power Expands in Chicago - article from Food First newsletter
February 14, 2011
By Lee Saint Pierre
“To grow food, to grow minds and to grow community.” That is the goal of Growing Power, a nonprofit organization and land trust with sites in Milwaukee, WI, and Chicago, IL. Growing Power is helping to provide high-quality, safe, and affordable food for people by supporting and enhancing local community food system through food production, hands–on training, outreach, and educational demonstrations.
During the past 12 years, Growing Power established partnerships with communities of color, small-scale farmers and low-income youth affected by lack of food access and diet- related illness. In the summer of 2010 the organization employed and trained 140 youth in Chicago. Youth development is central to the Chicago office where youth learn the fundamentals of farming along with the complexities of the food system, food security, and environmental sustainability, as well as developing skills that prepare them for higher education opportunities and future employment, such as developing team building and conflict resolution skills.
Growing Power’s successes are expanding to Iron Street Urban Farm, a new seven acre site, in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood run by Will’s daughter, Erika. Iron Street envisions growing healthy soil (compost) and energy, using closed-loop ecological practices to produce local, healthy, and sustainable food year round for Chicago. Iron Street will be the first of its kind in Chicago. It will include 10 hoop greenhouses, aquaponics systems to grow mercury-free tilapia, vermicomposting, small animal husbandry, urban apiary, urban orchard and vine fruit production, green roof production and research, and training and employment for 30 at-risk youth. This pioneering new site also plans to use renewable energy sources.
Growing Power is the innovation of Will Allen, an award winning farmer, salesman, and former professional basketball player named one of Time magazine’s top 100 most influential people. Find out more at: www.growingpower.org